Legendary NFL coach, historic Florida Gators athletic director Bill Arnsparger dies at 88

Former Florida Gators athletic director Bill Arnsparger, a figure who made one of the most important decisions in school history, passed away Friday in Athens, Alabama, at the age of 88.

Following a storied coaching career, Arnsparger was named Florida’s athletic director in 1986; he was tasked with cleaning up the Gators athletic program following numerous NCAA sanctions for rules violations.

As such, he hired two new coaches for the school’s primary athletic programs, bringing on former Florida Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Steve Spurrier in 1990 to coach the football team and Lon Kurger for basketball in 1991. Spurrier, of course, turned the Gators’ football team into perennial winners and national champions in 1996. Kruger led Florida basketball to its first Final Four (1994).

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2 BITS: Chandler Parsons tears apart DeAndre Jordan after Jordan spurned Mavs for Clippers

1 » Known as one of the best player recruiters in the NBA, former Florida Gators forward Chandler Parsons hauled in Dwight Howard for Houston and looked primed to be a major factor in the Dallas Mavericks signing DeAndre Jordan, until the center had a change of heart and decided to stay with the Los Angeles Clippers. Parsons had fun with the situation when it unfolded on Wednesday, first sending an emoji on Twitter indicating he was going to talk to Jordan and then noting, “I thought I had a good pump fake,” after learning Jordan would stay in Los Angeles. He was not in as light a mood on Thursday.
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Florida Gators Michael Frazier II, Chris Walker not selected in 2015 NBA Draft

The Florida Gators, after a tough 2014-15 season that was one of the worst in program history under former head coach Billy Donovan, did not have either of its two eligible underclassmen selected on Thursday in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Neither junior guard Michael Frazier II nor sophomore forward/center Chris Walker heard his name called in Brooklyn.

Frazier was considered a potential second-round selection and should be a top target among undrafted free agents, while Walker was never projected to be drafted.

It is the second straight year that the Gators did not have a player picked in the two-round event, continuing the end of a three-year streak of seeing at least one Florida player get drafted from 2011-13.

A total of 35 former Gators have been selected in the history of the event. UF has only had one first-round pick (Bradley Beal, No. 3 overall, 2012) in the last seven drafts after seeing five go in the first 30 picks during a four-year span from 2005-08.

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2 BITS: Eagles see ‘improvement’ in Tim Tebow

1 » Reviews of his efforts in organized team activities have not been kind to former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, but don’t tell Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly that. “I have seen an improvement from Tim since the day we got him in terms of his knowledge of what we’re doing, understanding where everybody is,” Kelly told the Delaware County Daily Times. “There’s a whole process, and for him what we have done is different than what he’s done anywhere else. So in terms of learning our terminology and how we do things, I think each week you’ve seen an incremental bump in him, so we’re excited to see where that takes him, and it’ll be a good competition as we get into August.”

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FOUR BITS: Patriots LB Brandon Spikes released after his car was found abandoned in a crash

1 » One day after it was reported by FOX 25 out of Boston that a Maybach Mercedes registered to New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes was found abandoned on the median of a highway, the former Florida Gators player was released by the team. According to FOX 25, The OnStar representative from the car “told state police the driver of the care reported hitting a deer.” However, while an injured deer was not found near the scene, another car called in that it was rear ended at approximately the same time as the crash involving Spikes’s car. Spikes signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Patriots (with up to $1 million in incentives), returning to the team that drafted him after spending a season with the Buffalo Bills. His original tenure did not end well in New England, despite his close relationship with owner Bob Kraft, and his return to the franchise was a surprise. If this story sounds relatively familiar that is a vehicle belonging to former Miami Dolphins LB Channing Crowder was also abandoned on a highway in January 2008.

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Billy Donovan gives Florida Gators softball team a WCWS pep talk in Oklahoma City

The distance between Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators will grow with time but circumstances have kept the two linked together since his departure from the program to take over the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA.

Not only has Donovan reached out to new Florida basketball coach Michael White on numerous occasions and taken out an advertisement in The Gaiensville Sun to thank Gators fans, he continued his support of the softball program this week in Oklahoma City.

Donovan surprised the Florida softball team Wednesday night at its hotel in his new city, giving the Gators a pep talk as they prepared for the 2015 Women’s College World Series.

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Billy Donovan says goodbye, thanks Florida Gators fans in heartfelt newspaper ad

Former Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan has not spoken much since leaving the program for the NBA‘s Oklahoma City Thunder, but on Sunday, Donovan and the rest of his family thanked the program he called home for 19 seasons with a full-page advertisement in The Gainesville Sun.

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Florida signee Noah Dickerson requests release from National Letter of Intent

Rather than keep the Florida Gators’ 2015 signing class from falling apart, new head coach Michael White is now tasked with ensuring he does not lose it completely.

Late Tuesday night, four-star power forward signee Noah Dickerson (Montverde, FL) confirmed that he has officially asked to be released from his National Letter of Intent with Florida and will seek to begin his college basketball career elsewhere.

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